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Oh yes.

A high level of stupidity has got me where I am today.

It has only just occurred to me, as I vacuum clean and brush the WW2 greatcoat, inspecting it for live moth infestation (thankfully none), that it isn’t the best choice for the textile artist with a wool allergy is it?

So… swollen eyes, itchy skin, and closing throat mean I have taken double dose of anti-histamine, and used a therapeutic amount of words with explosive consonants in. Mostly Fs and Bs. I look like I’ve been through some dark and terrible torture.

There has been sneezing in industrial quantities.

The cleaning process has now been completed, so the loose fibres and dust that caused the problem have now been removed. As long as I stitch it carefully, raising no ruckus (sp?) I should be ok from now on.

The greatcoat looks great though now.

I vacuumed it inside and out. I found a small scrap of paper that looks like a tear strip with arrows on from a juicy fruit chewing gum wrapper. Along with sparkly dust that I have presumed to be the remains of the foil. The inside of the sleeves are dirty and greasy, black stuff delineating the creases. The buttonholes have been repaired with black coarse on the spot stitching. The coat is already small, but the wearer has used the same sort of stitching to take it in at the back, under the belt. Did he lose weight during the battles fought?

The pockets are also greasy and dirty, but the tough fabric is mostly intact and will enable me to stitch the initials of the sponsors who will make this project fly. I love the fact that Belinda wanted me to stitch her Granddad’s initials rather than her own. Others have followed her lead, with the initials of members of their families who are ex- or serving soldiers… This lends my work a poignancy I had never imagined. I am humbled by their contribution to the life I lead in the free world, in a country where I am free to express myself.

Thank you.